Saturday, March 21, 2015

In Arden, I will lose weight...and other misguided notions

I thought that when I moved to Arden, I would lose weight. It's true. We had to move out of our home in Reinholds and put all our things into temporary storage for two months. For the most part, this meant a total purge of pantry items. I still cooked for the two months we lived with my in-laws, but I was careful not to accumulate food stuffs. We would move to Arden, and the pantry would be a fresh start. In Arden we would live within 15 minutes of Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. I would have access to that great wall of serve-yourself fancy grains and jewel-like, dried legumes. I would buy the expensive meats carved from the loins of grass-fed cattle who had a happy backstories posted for my reading pleasure. Because we would be paying top dollar for happy meat, we would eat less of it. Meatless Monday might drift into Tuesday and Wednesday. I would grow vegetables in the community garden, and those I couldn't grow, I would buy at Marini's produce which was close enough that I could walk to once a week, carrying my market basket through the woods. I would do Yoga regularly at the Buzz and take long walks throughout the village and into the forests. And guess what? All those things really happened. I wasn't wrong.

Here's what I didn't count on--all the friends we would gain and all socializing we would be doing. Community dinners. I mean, I knew I would be eating at the Dinner Gild. We used to come for dinners before we moved in, but that was one dinner a week. I didn't count on Beverley Fleming and her catered specialties like sesame chicken showing up and in my face at every buffet table across town. I didn't count on adult trick-or-treating or that we would find friends who would not only be beer snobs with us, but egg us on to greater and greater hoppy heights. We are like the geocachers except that instead of looking for hidden treasures, we search for hard-to-get IPA's. The same friends, or maybe their wives, pushed us to bourbon and rye tastings. And do you know what goes with bourbon? Bacon. Brown sugar-cured, maple-slathered bacon.

In Arden, there are so many occasions for covered dishes and casserole gifting that I have started keeping things like disposable, deep-dish, aluminum containers and lids around so I don't have to worry about bringing anything home from parties or so people don't have to worry about giving the dishes back if I deliver a tomato pie to a sick friend. And we have been the recipient of food goodness starting from the very beginning with a coffee cake given to us by our neighbor Betty upon moving in. We have made homemade cronuts with the gang. Celebrated Good Friday with a fryer. Bring over anything, and we will fry it. Oreo cookies are a must. Fried peeps were a grave disappointment. There is nothing that can't be celebrated with food in Arden. The final episode of Breaking Bad, the band Jonas Sees in Color coming back into town, the first snow, Mardi Gras, feast days of lesser saints, and my favorite excuse--Thursday. I've already mentioned in previous blog entries that our Sunday morning hikes end in pub fare about 50% of the time. All those feel-good miles obliterated by french fries and a nap.

Having more restaurants to choose from has been detrimental, too. Folks in North Wilmington think that the pickings are slim. They never lived in Reinholds. I must have a southwest chicken salad from El Diablo at least once a week. When I am being good, I bring it home and put half of it in a container for the next day. I am not always good. Larry took me shopping at Booth's Corner Market and showed me his favorite stands. Did I know about fried Mac-n-cheese and Philly cheesesteak baked into a pretzel wrap? They know Mark and me by name at Two Stones Pub. We are there often. At the same time we are frequenting 2SP, we are avoiding the doctor's office. Last time I was there, I was admonished. My weight gain issues were dismissed with the charge to use MyFitnessPal to track calories. I'll get right on that. Bev, what is the nutritional analysis on that Sesame Chicken?  David, how about them cronuts? How many calories in a Dinner Gild chicken mole dinner? Mark has an order for blood work that he has been ignoring since October. I think we are going to switch doctors.

You should come to my pantry and see all the beautiful mason jars lined up and filled with bulgar wheat and cranberry beans, chia seeds and dried chili peppers. During the week, I use the mason jars to make brilliant grab-n-go salads. I have a spice drawer to die for. I still cook healthy foods. I still have delusions of finding that sweet spot of eating less calories than I burn off walking to and from all the events in town. I've heard tell of a little thing called moderation. I am going to contemplate it while I eat a breakfast of an oatmeal cookie as big as my face. It is leftover from my book club.

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